Bar’s new SOLACE program to offer support in times of need to members of the Montana legal community
Monday, February 25, 2019
The State Bar of Montana has started a new program to allow members of the legal profession in Montana to support each other in times of dire need or personal disaster.
SOLACE (Support of Lawyers/Legal Personnel—All Concern Encouraged) is a network of legal professionals willing to provide critical assistance in various forms to others who have suffered deaths or other catastrophic illnesses, sickness or injury. The bar’s Board of Trustees approved the program at its Feb. 8 meeting.
The State Bar is looking for volunteers to help launch the program in Montana. If you have questions or are interested in helping, please email email@example.com.
The first SOLACE program was developed in 2002 by the Louisiana State Bar Association. The ABA Journal reports that there are now formal programs in about 25 states. State bars with programs include Colorado, Minnesota, Nebraska, South Dakota and Wyoming.
The concept is simple: Lawyers who know of a colleague, judge, law student, or court or law office employee in need may submit a request for assistance. Requests will be screened and then directed through a volunteer email network, and members may help with contributions of clothing, housing, transportation, medical community contacts, and myriad of other possible solutions depending on the situation.
Stories of those in other states who have been helped are numerous and inspiring. Here are a few:
A Georgia lawyer who was dealing with a serious illness and recovering from brain surgery faced foreclosure on her home. Several bar members negotiated with the mortgage company and avoided the pending foreclosure.
A young paralegal single mother diagnosed with terminal cancer wanted to take her two small children to Disney World before she died. Several attorneys made it happen by donating frequent flyer miles, use of a condo, and gift cards.
A lawyer needed a liver transplant but couldn’t survive the long drive to the hospital. Another lawyer with a pilot’s license provided free air transportation.